National Poetry Month: Book Review of Blood Water Paint

Posted April 16, 2018 by shooting in Book Review / 24 Comments

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

Review by Lauren

Source: library copy; all opinions are my own

Official Summary (add on Goodreads): Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father’s paint.

She chose paint.

By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome’s most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost.

Review: I was introduced to this amazing novel by the author Mackenzi Lee (A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue). I went to her author signing in March and someone asked her what she had been reading recently and would recommend and Blood Water Paint was one such book. This book is a fictionalized account of the very real Artemisia Gentileschi, who was a painter. Artemisia is raped by a man who is meant to be her teacher, and while most in her position would stay quiet, for fear of not being believed and ruining their own reputation, Artemisia decided to tell her story. Her truth.

The rape is not a spoiler, but it does take awhile for the book to get to that particular moment. It’s leading up to it throughout though, especially since the non-verse parts of the book are in the point of view of Artemisia’s mother, telling her stories of religious figures Susanna and Judith, who have dealt with men taking what they want, yet they held strong. In case you didn’t catch the non-verse comment, I want to make it known that this book is mostly told in verse (or a kind of poetry, if you’ve never read a verse novel). I know this type of writing is not for everyone, but since this is such an internal story for Artemisia, I thought it was done really well and telling her story in verse made perfect sense.

no idea/ how much blood there would be/ it means they like you -book review of verse novel Blood Water Paint #ontheblog #bookbloggers Click To Tweet

When I saw this book at my local library and remembered Mackenzi Lee’s recommendation, I knew I had to read and review this one for National Poetry Month. Blood Water Paint is a beautifully written book about a heartbreaking story. Artemisia stood up for herself, gave voice to her torment, when so many women would have sat down and been quiet. I can’t blame these other, nameless women though. Even today, women have a hard time speaking their truths, in a world that so often wants them to sit down, be quiet. Therefore, it is even more important for stories like Artemisia to be shared. The fact that this is a fictional book based on a real girl, and real events, just makes the book even more important to read.

24 responses to “National Poetry Month: Book Review of Blood Water Paint

  1. I can’t read/understand poetry anymore though I was never great at it to begin with. I wish I could remember the title but I’ve read a book similar to this years ago, set in Rome but art was not the backdrop, religion was. Anyways- this posts reminds me I need to visit my library soon. Ha!

  2. Thank you for highlighting National Poetry Month! This doesn’t sound like my usual choice, but that’s what these months are all about — New Reads!

  3. Love the cover for this! Thanks for highlighting this for poetry month! I need to read more poetry, I use to but I rarely take the time for it now.

  4. This sounds like a really interesting book and I like that the story is told through poetry. I might have to check this one out!

  5. I really love poetry but I’m not sure if I could read an entire book in that way. However your review makes me want to read it – I’m still kind of on the hook though about it being in verse….Like it sounds like it would be beautiful and painful and raw. I’ll have to book mark this one. You have me interested.

  6. I haven’t read a lot of books told in verse, but I’d like to expand my horizons and read more. This one sounds like one to try!

  7. I really love books written in verse, but I haven’t read one in a while. This one sounds like it would be emotional and intense, but also be an incredible story.

    I love when author’s share what they’ve been reading. It’s usually something I haven’t heard of/read, and I love finding new treasures.

    I thought I was already, but I’m following you via Bloglovin’ and on Twitter! I’ve been making a point to check the blog’s I comment on today just to make sure! Phew–glad I did!

    Do You Dog-ear?

    Lindsi recently posted: Maybe Someone Like You by Stacy Wise
  8. This sounds like a wonderful and incredibly timely book. Thank you for sharing this review, Lauren. “Even today, women have a hard time speaking their truths, in a world that so often wants them to sit down, be quiet.” Sigh. Ain’t that the truth?! Also I didn’t know it was national poetry month but now I’d like to read some verse, too:)

  9. Sometimes I have trouble with verse, but I think in this case it might be okay- I have read some other tough-topic books in verse and it seems to work for me in those situations? Plus I have heard awesome things about this one, and also, the cover is pretty hah. I am glad to hear that you think it’s worth it too, that makes me even more excited! Great review!

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: May 2018 New Release Giveaway Hop Sign Ups- and Update/Announcement!

Leave a Reply

(Enter your URL then click here to include a link to one of your blog posts.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.